Women's Basketball Opens Valley Road Schedule at Creighton, Drake

Jan. 10, 2013

Game 16| illinois state at Drake
Date: Sunday, Jan. 13 at 2:05 p.m.
Location: Des Moines, Iowa | Knapp Center
Game Notes: Illinois State | Drake
Live Stats: GameTracker
Twitter: @ISUWBB



NORMAL, Ill. - After opening the Missouri Valley Conference season at home with two wins, the Illinois State women's basketball team will open MVC road play against Creighton and Drake. ISU and Creighton will compete on the hardwood, Friday, at 7:05 p.m., in Sokol Arena. On Sunday, the Redbirds will take on the Bulldogs at 2:05 p.m., in the Knapp Center.

The Redbirds and the Bluejays both enter Friday's game undefeated in Valley play. ISU defeated Northern Iowa and Bradley, while CU has wins over Southern Illinois and Evansville. For her back-to-back double-double performances, ISU sophomore transfer Janae Smith earned her sixth Valley Newcomer of the Week Honor on Monday.

Creighton leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 29-16. The two teams have played twice annually every year since 1993. Drake just barely leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 33-32. The series began in 1981 and the two teams have met at least twice annually since 1984.

Creighton leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 29-16. The two teams have played twice annually since 1993. Creighton went 21-8 against ISU through 2005, including an eight-game winning streak. Since 2006, ISU has won eight games, while Creighton has won eight games in 16 meetings. Creighton has a commanding lead over Illinois State in games played in Omaha, Neb., 19-2.

Drake just barely leads the all-time series with Illinois State, 33-32. The series began in 1981 and the two teams have met at least twice annually since 1984. ISU posted a 14-10 record against Drake through 1994. From 1995-2004, The Bulldogs went 18-3 against ISU, including a 14-game winning streak. ISU is 13-5 against Drake since 2005, winning six-straight matchups before falling to Drake on Feb. 17, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake leads the series 18-12 in games played in Des Moines, Iowa.

ISU opened conference play with two wins, which marks the third-straight season the Redbirds have started Valley play undefeated 2-0. Illinois State defeated Northern Iowa (Jan. 4), 72-41, before topping Bradley (Jan. 6), 81-65. Last season, ISU beat Southern Illinois (75-51) and Evansville (62-49) in the opening weekend of conference play for a 2-0 start in the Valley. In the opening weekend of the 2010-11 season, the Redbirds defeated Bradley (83-69) and Northern Iowa (69-60) to grab a 2-0 record in conference play after the first weekend.

Illinois State defeated Northern Iowa, 72-41, in its Missouri Valley Conference opener, which marked the seventh-consecutive conference opening win for the Redbirds and improved their record to 20-10 all-time in Valley openers. The 31-point win is the largest victory for ISU this season. The last time the `Birds opened the conference season with a loss was during the 2005-06 season, when they fell to Southern Illinois (Dec. 30), 87-65, in Redbird Arena.

For the third time this season, the Illinois State women's basketball team held an opponent to less than 50 points. In ISU's 72-41 victory over UNI, the Redbirds' strong defense held the Panthers to a 29.6 field goal percentage (16-of-54), as UNI only scored 15 points in the second half. With the solid defensive performance by Illinois State, Northern Iowa only dished out two assists as a team. ISU also held Morehead State (45) and Northwestern (46) to less than 50 points. The last time ISU held three opponents to less than 50 points in one season was the 2010-11 season, when the Redbirds held Drake, (45), Southern Illinois (44) and Arkansas (49) below the 50-point mark.

The ISU women's basketball team has won four-straight games, its longest win streak of the season. ISU won its final two road games of the non-conference schedule at Illinois (Dec. 21) and Butler (Dec. 30), before opening MVC play with two wins against Northern Iowa (Jan. 4) and Bradley (Jan. 6). The last time ISU had a four-game win streak was during the 2010-11 season, when the Redbirds had four-, five- and seven-game win streaks.

Sophomore transfer Janae Smith was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week for the week of Jan. 7. It is the sixth time Smith has earned the honor this season. Smith has played a crucial part for the Redbirds on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball during the 2012-13 season. Smith had back-to-back double-double performances in the opening weekend of MVC play and has recorded a double-double performance in five of ISU's last six games. After two Valley games, Smith is averaging 22 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. On the season, the Matteson, Ill., native is ISU's leading scorer (16.6 ppg) and rebounder (9.5 rpg). Smith is shooting 51 percent from the field and leads the Redbirds with 14 blocks.

In ISU's 72-41 win over UNI (Jan. 4), the Redbirds pulled down 14 more boards than the Panthers, 45-31. It marks the third-straight game Illinois State has pulled down 45 rebounds or more and its fourth-straight game with 40-plus boards. The Redbirds kept the momentum on the boards against Bradley (Jan. 6), bringing down 50 compared to BU's 42. Illinois State has had three games with 50 or more rebounds. On the season, the Redbirds have had 10 games with 40 or more rebounds and have out-rebounded opponents in nine contests.


In ISU's 72-41 win over UNI, the Redbirds were led by Janae Smith and Candace Sykes, as the duo each recorded a double-double. Smith led all players with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Sykes netted 20 points and pulled down 11 boards. Smith was 7-of-12 from the field and was perfect from the free throw line, making 9-of-9. Sykes was 8-of-15 from the field and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-8). It was the second double-double of the season for Sykes. Against Bradley, Smith recorded her third-straight double-double performance with 21 points and 13 rebounds. It was the sixth double-double for Smith, five of which occurred in the last six games.

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